Meryl Batlle | Pt. 1

Meryl is a beautiful person whom I have the joy of calling my friend. Speaking from her home studio in Collingwood, Meryl talks about the process, the joy, and her passion for pottery.

Originally from the south of France, Meryl grew up in Spain where, as a child, she discovered the ancient craft of ceramics. In trying to find unique props as a food stylist in Australia, Meryl reignited her passion for throwing clay.

“It’s infinite. There are so many things I can learn from it… There is always going to be something to discover. That is what I love about it.”

Learn more about Meryl’s work:

New Toys!

I’ve finally gotten around to updating my cameras - the results of which will become apparent in new work to be uploaded soon!  One of the cool things is an inbuilt intervalometer which is great for time-lapse video. 

Melbourne, the city I am from and love has cautiously been exiting a COVID-19 winter. With restrictions easing, it was great to see a few people out and about. 

Ten Years of Mending Broken Hearts

Feb 2018, Four year old Nelsia recovers after surgery to address a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

Ten years ago, Dr. Noel Bayley, a Warrnambool-based cardiologist and Dr. Dan Murphy, a Dili-based doctor from the legendary Bairo Pite Clinic made an impassioned plea to the Australian media. The two had spent years working together in the small South East Asian nation of Timor-Leste and concluded that Flavia Guterres, 19, required life-saving surgery that could not be conducted in Timor-Leste. After a short procedure at  Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre, Flavia appeared on television and in newspapers  to thank the Australian public. Upon hearing the media coverage, media and communications specialist Ingrid Svendsen, was inspired by the story and offered to donate her time.  East Timor Hearts Fund was born. 

The organisation has worked tirelessly to help improve health outcomes for the citizens of Timor-Leste, as well as to build capacity, and  to tackle the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste. Their patients have included teachers, nurses, students, parents, and children. Patients have been flown to Australia for surgery. Fly-in surgical teams have worked in the nations capital Dili. Screening clinics have been conducted around the small nation. Penicillin continues to be distributed to prevent rheumatic heart disease. There are plans for a permanent services in Timor-Leste, as well as professional development for local medical staff in partner organisations. 

After a few short trips to Timor-Leste and a bit of research, I first found myself volunteering for the organisation in 2013.  Arminda Soares, 12, had arrived in Australia for heart surgery. I volunteered my services, and had pitched the story to Melbourne’s The Age. To my surprise and delight, it ran page one in print. The story ran on Mother’s Day, and for me bore a special significance as my mother was nearing the end of her fight with terminal lung cancer. It was something she was very proud of. 

May 2013, Arminda Soares recovers from surgery at the Monash Medical Centre

My first cover helped to boost the media profile of East Timor Hearts Fund, and resulted in a donation of $100,000 being made. It was the first time my photography had made a significant difference. I was thankful it was for such a memorable story and amazing organisation. I still lend my services to East Timor Hearts Fund, and have been grateful to tell such heartwarming stories through my lens.

To find out more about the live-saving work of East Timor Hearts Fund and how you can help men broken hearts, please visit their website here!

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